Recipe: Cauliflower Cheese and Whisky

Cauliflower, recipe

Another recipe from my upcoming companion cookbook to Love InheritedCauliflower Cheese and Whisky.

View the two previously previewed recipes, Scottish Shortbread and Crusty No-Knead Bread.


Never has cauliflower been so soused. Though there does seem to be rather a lot of various types of alcohol in this cookbook, the alcohol cooks out and leaves behind unique flavor. That’s certainly true in this vegetable side dish.


One medium cauliflower

6 ounces (170g) mushrooms, finely chopped

Half of a green pepper, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups (300ml) whipping cream (double cream)

1 cup (113g) sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

6 tablespoons (90ml) whisky

1 tablespoon (12g) fine oatmeal (see NOTES)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup (67g) choice of unsalted nuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C, Gas Mark 4).

Cut off cauliflower stalks and cook florets in hot water for five minutes. Drain and put in a bowl.

Mix in mushrooms and green peppers. Turn into an ovenproof dish.

Heat cream over medium heat (don’t boil), add cheese, stirring frequently. When cheese is melted, remove from heat and stir in whisky. Add oatmeal, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Pour over cauliflower and sprinkle chopped nuts on top.

Bake 45-55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

NOTES: Guessing at what “fine oatmeal” is, I ground 1 tablespoon steel cut oats in a coffee grinder. You could also try processing rolled oats in the small bowl of your food processor.

For the 1 1/4 cups whipping cream I used 1 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, not because I tried to cut down on the calories, but because that’s what I had. It worked fine.

The sauce is thin but cooks down. Increase the cheese and oatmeal if you want a thicker sauce.

Serve with rice or potatoes: something to sop up the tasty sauce.

A word about whisky—the Scotch determines the flavor of this dish, so if you’re not familiar with the spirit, in general, the lighter the amber color of the liquor, the more subtle the flavor. I used a dark amber smoky blended Scotch, and the flavor of the cheese sauce was decidedly not subtle. I was a little concerned as the cooking progressed, boozy odors drifting from the oven, but it turned out great! 

And another word about whisky—for the spirit made in Scotland it’s “whisky” and for the different spirit made in the US (usually bourbon) it’s “whiskey.” I use the terms whisky and Scotch interchangeably to clarify that’s it’s Scotch from Scotland.

Adapted from recipe at Rampant Scotland.

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